Corticosteroid injections

What are they used for ?

Corticosteroid injections may be prescribed for osteoarthritis when anti-inflammatory treatments and analgesics have not succeeded in relieving a congestive flare-up. 

In general, corticosteroid injections give good results bearing in mind that most of the injected product remains in the joint. It acts on the pain and swelling within a few hours or days. Its effect lasts several days to one or two months according to each individual case.
Corticosteroid infiltration is the treatment of choice for advanced osteoarthritis, particularly in the knee where the joint is superficial and easy to puncture.

How do they work?

Corticosteroid infiltration therapy is done in a doctor's office. This technique involves injecting a cortisone-based anti-inflammatory product into the joint. 
You should be aware that that the often dreaded corticosteroid injection does not hurt any more than a blood test. It is, however, possible and sometimes useful to have a local anaesthetic beforehand.

What precautions need to be taken ?

Corticosteroid  joint injection

Do not put too much strain on your joint(s) following the corticosteroid injection. Sometimes the pain increases after the corticosteroid injection.
This problem disappears spontaneously after a few hours and is not a contraindication for further corticosteroid injections.

However, for any pain that occurs 48 hours after the corticosteroid injection you should immediately consult your doctor to rule out a potential infection. Even if there is a very low risk of this occurring (1 out of 50,000 cases of corticosteroid injections) you need to be particularly vigilant. 

There is no point in planning a special diet: cortisone delivered by local injection into a joint barely enters the blood stream and thus does not lead to weight gain. However, if you are diabetic, it can lead to a temporary imbalance. 

No more than three corticosteroid injections per year per joint are recommended simply because if the first three have not had a sufficient effect, a fourth one will probably not be any more effective. 

Note down the date, the product used and the effectiveness of the corticosteroid injections in your monitoring log or health record.